A disciple, a follower of Jesus, a Christian. The Bible considers them all the same. But what exactly is a "disciple," a "follower" or a "Christian"? Many definitions have been invented - in fact, if you ask around, you might come up with a dozen or more definitions.
Here, we focus specifically on how the Bible defines this concept. We are going to examine this issue in several different ways, to show that we are not simply picking verses we want, to try to prove a predetermined viewpoint. We want to make sure that the definition presented here is the real thing.
Once we know the real definition, we can honestly reject the other definitions as fakes, or just partly true, at best. People might not like us doing this (any more than they did, when Jesus did it), but this is a serious matter. Scriptures abound with warnings that many people will be deceived into thinking they belong to God, when they actually do not. God will hold us accountable, if we refuse to speak up (because we fear the way people may respond), and we choose instead to allow people to perish in their ignorance.
We live in a day in which people like to invent their own definitions of what it means to be a "Christian." Here, our focus is on making a distinction between the Bible's definition and the many definitions that have been invented since the time the Bible was written. We can be thankful that the Bible is quite clear on this matter. It does not leave us guessing.
It's not by means of performing a ritual - which many people have done, with absolutely no change in their lives. When you see what the Bible says, you may become amazed at how far many "churches" have strayed from "the way of Christ."
The apostle John writes an entire book of the Bible on this issue (1 John). It isn't enough to simply claim to "believe" or "have faith." You need to make sure that your "believing" or "faith" is genuine.
Don't be surprised when people who look "saved" suddenly depart from the faith. Jesus warned us that it would happen. But does this mean they were "saved" and then became "unsaved"? (Jesus would reply, "I never knew you.")
The word "church" has become grossly distorted, and today often means something that is totally unrelated to the word "church," as God uses it in the Bible. When we understand the genuine definition of that word, and choose to let that definition influence our perspective on this matter, it will have a radical impact on many aspects of life.
"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)